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Who are the Maronites?

  • The Maronites are Christians of the Antiochian Patriarchate who took their name after St. Maron (410) their Patron Saint and founder of their Church. Toward the end of the fourth century, St. Maron, a hermit who lived near Antioch, sent some of his disciples to evangelize the pagan population of the Lebanese mountains. When the Maronite hierarchy with the bulk of the Maronite faithful took refuge in the Lebanese mountains, it found a thriving Maronite community.

 

  • Since that time, Lebanon became the see of the Maronite Patriarchate and the center from which the Maronite people and missionaries spread all over the world. In Lebanon, the Maronites developed as a community and acquired the characteristics which became their permanent hallmark.

 

  • By the middle of the seventh century, Syria had fallen to the Arab conquest and the Maronite hierarchy could no longer find the atmosphere for its Christian witness. It came to the inaccessible mountains of Lebanon where the Maronite community permanently established its homeland. Through the centuries, the Maronite people and Lebanon interacted. They transformed the rocky land into fertile terraces and the ramparts of its mountains into a natural refuge for all persecuted minorities in the area.

 

  • During the fourteen centuries of life in Lebanon, the Maronites developed a unique spiritual, liturgical and cultural patrimony. They distinguished themselves from the beginning by their attachment to the teaching of the Ecumenical Councils and their uninterrupted union with Rome was a factor in making them the best exponents of Western culture in the West. Through their long struggle for freedom with other religious and ethnic minorities, they acquired special qualities of endurance, appreciation for openness to other communities, and the ability to interact with other cultures and civilizations.

 

  • The Maronites have been and continue to be pioneers in the field of human relations and spiritual and cultural exchange between East and West.

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